CAS confirms “self-disqualification” after doping accusation is stupid

February 23, 2012

You may have noticed how CAS did the math in Contador’s case. They took the 24 month sentence, then deducted the roughly 12 months that he raced and for which the results now have been annulled. They also deducted the 5 months of his self-imposed leave from the sport at the end of 2010, when the positive test was first announced.

In other words, he got the exact day-for-day credit for the time he put himself on the sideline as he did for the time he was racing and screwing up results everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, he had the fullest right to screw up those results, those are the rules and when you are innocent until proven guilty, that’s the outcome. It is however odd that CAS gives the same credit for the time between the test result becoming known and the time they reach a verdict, regardless of how that time is spent.

Contador is not even the most extreme case; even while he was on his self-imposed vacation from the sport, he continued to get paid his salary. Mosqueira for example disqualified himself and didn’t even get a salary for the year he had to wait on his verdict. And somehow that year sitting idle penniless wasn’t even credited, his 2 year ban started when the verdict was rendered, effectively giving him a 3 year ban. [This last paragraph was edited as it contained an error, thanks to Dennis Josefsson for pointing it out]

18 Responses to “CAS confirms “self-disqualification” after doping accusation is stupid”

  1. Kris Says:

    What are the implications of a rider being suspended without pay immediately after a doping result until the case is resolved. There wouldn’t be any mess in the results and there would be no income.

    Good for the UCI and good for cycling as another deterrent for cyclists not to dope.


    • Of course the issue is, if the rider is found not guilty, the damage is already done. The bottom line is that there will be damage one way or another if there is a period in which we don’t know the outcome. The longer the period, the bigger the damage.

      Not that I am as concerned with these long delays as most people; that’s the price you pay for having a proper process. In the end, it’s only sporting results that are affected, it’s not like somebody is jailed while awaiting the outcome (how come we don’t hear the same uproar about people awaiting trial sitting in jail for a year as we hear about Contador mucking up a few race results)?

  2. Not sure what you mean by self-imposed. According to the CAS verdict (section 12 and 13), Contador’s provisionally suspension started on August 26 2010. The provisionally suspension ended on February 14 2011, and that time was deducted from the 2-year suspension that started January 25 2011.

  3. Nancy Says:

    I think that Moskera’s team did not want him to race while his case was pending and fired him later. Saxo Bank should have sidelined Contador during the process and try to win race with other riders. I hoped that Saxobank will lose their Worldtour license. Do you think Contador will be able to get points once he comes back?

    • I am not sure about the points when Contador comes back. The new rule is that the first two years after a suspension, your points don’t count for your team. But that rule was passed after he tested positive,but before the CAS decision, so I am not sure if it applies retroactively nor if it really should be considered retroactive when the CAS decision was after the rule was passed.

    • BTW, the Contador and Mosqueira cases are not comparable in that sense. Contador was cleared of wrongdoing by the Spanish federation, and so he went back to race. It would be illogical to demand otherwise.

      I understand why people with certain opinions on the Spanish federation and with the knowledge of the outcome of the CAS case would feel otherwise, but if riders need to stay inactive until the UCI or WADA exhaust all options, that would effectively be a 1-2 year ban anyway, even if they are innocent.

  4. Curious as to your thoughts on the recent cluster that is the whereabouts violations. My understanding from friends that are in the ADAMs system it is incredibly easy to screw up.

    There is also the illogical and seemingly random amount of time a person gets suspended even within their own federations. Today’s example of Offredo suspension v. Bauge’ suspension, or lack thereof.

    • I am not too familiar with the current ADAMS system, I do know that a few years ago it was definitely not very user-friendly. I would be surprised if it recently got harder to use, but who knows. I will say that for a cyclist, the whereabouts are a lot tougher than for many other athletes. Their programs change regularly, unlike many other sports where the program is determined far in advance and where they also sleep at home almost every night – unlike in cycling.

  5. andrewp Says:

    Both Mosquera and Contador have one main point in common – neither raced n the international calendar from being notified of their test result until the decision of the disciplinary tribunal.

    One as had a provisional suspension under the rules and is officially credited, the other is a wait. The only varying factor is the substance found determining whether the rules officially apply

    Would query just how self imposed it was in the case of Mosquera though and the extent to which it was he imposed on him by his team etc, especially as it seems most of the delays in processing the case were arguably to assess/acquire information that may ultimately have helped his cause.

    But accept your point that if a team and rider wants to ride through an approaching storm pending a decision then for certain categories of offence it seems pointless not to.

    Seems almost arbitrary what each team will do at the moment – c/f Kolobnev (Kat) v A Rasmussen (THR) v Mosquera (Vac) v Offredo (FDJ). Fired, fired, benched, supported most recently.

  6. tom hewitt Says:

    Ryan Braun has won the appeal of his failed banned substance test and will not be suspended for the first 50 games of the season, reports Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel. The union officially announced the win, saying both parties agreed to the announcement despite what is usually a confidential process. MLB has issued a statement saying it “vehemently disagrees” with the decision.

    “It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” said Braun in a statement passed along by’s Adam McCalvy. “We were able to get through this because I am innocent … This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully the process worked.”

    Haudricourt says the appeal went Braun’s way not because of the test result, but because of a technicality with the testing process.’s Jon Heyman and The New York Post’s Joel Sherman report that part of Braun’s argument was that the sample was not shipped in a timely fashion and that the chain of custody was broken for two days, meaning the sample was left unprotected (Twitter links). Independent arbitrator Shyam Das ruled in favor of the technicality, giving Braun the win by a 2-1 margin.

    The reigning NL MVP is the first player to have a suspension successfully overtuned through the appeals process

    • Good to see it confirmed that the chain of custody needs to be respected. What I want to know is, when are the doping hunters finally going to crack down on sloppy sample takers? How can a sport spend so much money on collecting tests, only to have them invalidated by carelessness? Or is this part of the deal in MLB, yes we do testing but we ensure the chain of custody is broken?

  7. tom hewitt Says:

    As you may be aware, PEDs are an even bigger issue in horse racing:

    CHRB Dismisses Baffert Morphine Case

    by Lenny Shulman
    Date Posted: 3/24/2005 2:45:36 PM
    Last Updated: 3/25/2005 12:35:12 PM

    Read more:

    The California Horse Racing Board, meeting in executive session March 24, dismissed an almost five-year-old morphine case against trainer Bob Baffert. In doing so, the board followed the recommendation of administrative law judge Timothy S. Thomas, who heard Baffert’s appeal in January.
    The case began after Nautical Look won a first-level allowance race at Hollywood Park in May 2000. A post-race test turned up positive for morphine, starting a long and winding legal procedure.

    In successfully arguing Baffert’s case in front of Thomas, attorney Steve Schwartz presented a body of new evidence. Dr. B. William Bell, the CHRB’s official veterinarian, testified that the amount of morphine found in Nautical Look’s test was “pharmacologically insignificant and most likely due to environmental contamination.” He further testified that Baffert’s barn is the “most secure” he has ever seen, and that Baffert’s employees took every reasonable precaution to prevent tampering.

    Schwartz presented evidence that in May and June of 2000, 13 samples out of 95 were deemed “suspect” for opiates, findings that were out of the ordinary and consistent with environmental contamination, according to Dr. Steven Barker, chief chemist of the Louisiana State Racing Commission.

    In his decision, Judge Thomas wrote: “These facts and (Baffert’s) success as a trainer support the conclusion he had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by the use of a banned substance on this horse.”

    While Baffert said he was pleased by the finding and feels vindicated, he also said: “It should not be lost that it took four years and seven months, thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal expenses, and incalculable personal and professional distress to reach the right decision.”

    Added Schwartz: “The previous executive director of the CHRB and the CHRB equine medical director were advised early on by one of the CHRB’s own analytical chemists that this case was likely one of contamination and that that likelihood should be investigated. Mr. Baffert finds it shameful that a follow-up investigation was not conducted, and feels the CHRB did a disservice to all participants in California racing.”

    The case began when the board of stewards found Baffert liable and suspended him for 60 days. Baffert got a stay of the suspension pending appeal, and filed a civil rights action in federal court. His attorney at that time, Neil Papiano, successfully argued that the CHRB’s testing lab threw away a sample of Nautical Look’s blood, rendering it impossible to test a split sample. The federal court issued a summary judgment in Baffert’s favor and ordered the CHRB not to proceed further unless it could produce the blood sample.

    The CHRB appealed that decision to the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court and was successful in overturning it on the grounds that the federal court should have declined jurisdiction and allowed a state court to handle the case. That decision renewed the state court’s action, and Baffert and his current attorney, Schwartz, presented their case in front of the administrative law judge in January.

    Read more:

    • I like the argument that the trainer wouldn’t do anything illegal because he is successful and therefore has more to lose than to gain. That would apply to Contador, wouldn’t it?

      Anyway, I can’t believe that after so many cases, these horses are still stupid enough to run around in contaminated environments!

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